TYLER, Texas – May 23 – The Erie Community College baseball team scored the game’s final four runs as the Kats rallied for a 12-10 win over Suffolk County Community College-Selden Monday in the NJCAA Division III World Series at Mike Carter Field.
Trailing 10-8 after five innings, the Kats plated a run in the sixth, another in the eighth and two more in the ninth to pick up the victory in the elimination game. ECC, now 30-17, plays Eastfield (Texas) College (36-20) Tuesday at 5 p.m. Suffolk-Selden, the nation’s top-ranked team in the final NJCAA poll, ends its season 33-13.
Freshman Mike Wagner (Clarence, N.Y./St. Mary’s) picked up the win after pitching five innings of scoreless relief. He allowed four hits and struck out three.
In the ninth inning, Joe Pantano (Fredonia, N.Y./St. Francis) walked and stole second base. After moving to third base on an infield out, Pantano scored on a wild pitch to give ECC an 11-10 lead. Ron Lawrence (Cheektowaga, N.Y./Cleveland Hill) walked and scored when Mike Ferracuti (Toronto, Ont./Michael Powers) hit a two-out double to right field. Dylan Huch (Gowanda, N.Y./Gowanda) singled to center but Ferracuti was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
After retiring the inning’s first two batters for Suffolk-Selden, Wagner gave up a pair of walks before getting the final batter to fly out to center.
Neal DeMartin (Grand Island, N.Y./Grand Island) had three hits and drove in three runs. Wagner, Ferracuti and Huch each had two hits. Ferracuti scored three runs and drove in two. Led by Ferracuti’s three walks, ECC recorded 13 walks and had two batters hit by pitch. Suffolk-Selden also committed six errors.
The Kats scored a run in each of their halves of the first and second innings. Austin Benshadle (Getzville, N.Y./Williamsville North) walked to open the game and advanced when Pantano singled. Bensadle scored when Jesse Zellner (Tonawanda, N.Y./Tonawanda) hit a sacrifice fly to center field. In the second, Ferracuti walked, moved to second after an errant pickoff throw and then scored on a single by Huch.
Suffolk-Selden then used eight hits and an error to plate six runs in the second, five coming after two outs.
ECC added a run in the fourth when Ferracuti walked and scored on a double by DeMartin. Suffolk added a run in fourth to push its lead to 7-3.
The Kats answered with five runs in the fifth. Zellner and Emilio Arteta (Miami, Fla./Dr. Michael M. Krop) walked. Wagner then singled to load the bases. Huch reached on an error to score two; Benshadle walked before DeMartin singled to right to score Huch and Wagner. Benshadle would steal home to give ECC an 8-7 lead.
Suffolk-Selden then added three runs in the fifth as the Sharks used six hits and an error to build a 10-8 lead.
In the sixth, Lawrence walked and Wagner doubled to put runners in scoring position. Lawrence scored when Ferracuti singled to left.
In the eighth, Ferracuti walked, stole second and moved to third on an error. Huch walked. In a double steal, Ferracuti stole home while Huch stole second.
ECC (30-17) 110-151-012—12-12-2
Suffolk-Selden (33-13) 060-130-000—10-18-6